Steam Dreams and Stoves Continued

I am now in Berrien Springs, Michigan, for a 2 day visit at the Steam Automobile Club of America (SACA) annual meeting in Chicagoland. I am staying with Tom Kimmel, club president – a jovial fellow who also runs a significant plant propagation nursery for ornamentals.

Tom is an interesting fellow, like the other steam people that I’ve yet to meet. He is a historian by training, but also has enough command of steam power to be able to critique steam system design. This is interesting – as it demonstrates that non-technical people can make significant contribution to technical development of relevant topics.

There are several goals for my trip:

  1. First, we will be building a stove with heat exchangers for producing at least hydronic space heating. Goal number one is to come up with an effective heat exchanger design.
  2. We are leaning towards a 1 inch pipe monotube heat exchanger – which may be sufficient to run a steam engine – for a combined heat and power system at Factor e Farm. My goal is to understand the feasibility of such a system, using an off-shelf steam engine from Tinytech Plants.
  3. Determine feasibiliy of our proposed Steam Engine Construction Set – a modular, scalable steam engine design that can be used for stationary and motive powe.
  4. Determine the research directions of OSE for the Steam Engine Construction Set, with particular emphasis on contributions to a Steam Power Automobile for the Twenty-First Century. Jerry Peoples, one of the people at this meet, has laid out the technical requirements for such a car. In short, he proposes that integrated design is the main missing requirement. This is aligned with our thinking – as we have shown that integrated design is key to the cost reductions of open hardware.

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  1. Steam Meet Update | Open Source Ecology

    […] that if someone wants to build a steam engine, the first thing that they should do is visit a Steam Automobile Club of America (SACA) meeting. The steam club meeting is filled with amazing talent – from former NASA engineers, present Detroit […]